Red Card Roberts
December 20, 2011
Full disclosure: I am not a yogi. There is absolutely nothing about yoga that does anything for me. I can’t even touch my toes. The few times I’ve taken a class, I ended up spending the entire hour contemplating my escape, visualizing the easiest path between sweaty, bended bodies to freedom.
Many of my friends are instructors and have sworn that, if I just take their class, I’ll find some type of inner peace, get in touch with my breathing and put my mind at rest.
My mind at rest? Clearly I’m missing something here. Because in the few yoga classes I’ve been to, my mind goes something like this:
Teacher: "And into downward dog."
Me (in a silent conversation with myself): "Hmm, look at that big splotch on the floor. That reminds me: I need to wash my windows. But I’m out of Windex, so I guess I need to go to the grocery store. What else do I need at the store? I should buy carrots. I need to eat more carrots. Remember that bunny I had as a kid, what was its name? Flopsy? Fluffy? No, it was Freemont! Freemont. Why on earth did I name a rabbit Freemont? Speaking of rabbits, I should host an Easter brunch this year."
Suffice it to say, my mind does not rest when I practice yoga. And because I can’t seem to get the hang of it, I’ve always thought of yoga as a crock, sold to us by some hippie in overpriced Lululemon gear while collecting $20 and saying "Namaste" in badly accented Hindi.
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But then I took Julia Geisler’s class. Now, I won’t pretend my mind or body spent any time at ease, but at least this time that wasn’t the expectation. That’s because Julia teaches her class on paddleboards. And trying to stretch your body without falling into the water isn’t exactly "mind at ease" stuff.
"Paddleboarding yoga requires more balance and focus. It brings you to the present moment because, if you aren’t paying attention, then you end up getting a wake-up call from landing in the water. It increases body awareness and tunes you into where the body is in space," Julia says.
Julia started Park City Yoga Adventures a few years ago, and yoga atop paddleboards is just one of the exciting twists she offers to her classes. She also offers snowshoe and hiking adventures mixed in with her yoga classes.
"I am an avid rock climber, backpacker and skier. I would rather practice yoga outside to tap into nature and the place where I love to play," she added.
Julia’s paddleboard yoga classes are held in the crater at the Homestead Resort in Midway. The crater is a 10,000-year-old natural hot spring filled with 90-degree water inside a beehive-shaped cone.
In the summer months, Julia also offers her paddleboard yoga classes in the Uinta lakes. She says the key is being able to minimize factors like a current, space and temperature.
Considering I struggle with something as basic as sitting Indian-style on dry land, I was particularly grateful not to have to balance over waves.
And despite being a rank beginner, Julia made me feel welcome in her class. Even when I had to paddle to the dock in disgrace and admit I was a paddleboard yoga failure, she continued to encourage me. "You did great" she told me enthusiastically. Apparently, the only measure for this was that I didn’t drown.
But in true yogi spirit, Julia insists anyone can try and everyone is welcome.
"There are no expectations and the point is to have fun. All abilities and ages can participate. I tailor the experience to you and your personal goals."
To learn more about the experiences Julia offers, visit her website at: http://www.parkcityyogaadventures.com .
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Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, public-relations guru and globe-trotting thrill seeker. In a former life she worked in TV news, both as a reporter and sports anchor. She has bagged peaks on six continents, kayaked the Zambezi and Nile rivers, swam with great white sharks in South Africa and tracked mountain gorillas in Rwanda. She was once very nearly sold for 2,000 camels while traveling through Morocco.